Dogs are seized

WELLINGTON Shire Council has seized 39 ‘designer’ dogs living in squalid conditions from a property in a remote part of the shire.

Acting on received information, three local laws officers attended the property just after midday on Thursday afternoon, and found the dogs hidden in greyhound trailers, under camouflage in the bush.

Animals seized included puppies, mothers and pregnant dogs. The poor quality of living conditions warranted immediate seizure, which council is authorised to do under the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

The animals are now receiving veterinary care at Animal Aid Gippsland, Fulham, where the adult dogs will need to undergo extensive rehabilitation.

A person of interest has been identified in relation to the commercial-scale illegal breeding operation, and is helping the council with its inquiries.

In response to council calls for increased powers to deal with puppy farms in Victoria, legislation has been amended to give councils and RSPCA inspectors the ability to apply for court orders to seize animals from non-compliant and unregistered breeding premises.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, the maximum penalty for cruelty is $88,566, with possible jail time of up to 12 months.

Victorian courts are able to ban illegal operators from participating in the breeding industry, as well as keeping, selling, owning or caring for cats or dogs for up to 10 years.

It is illegal to operate a breeding establishment without being a registered breeder.

Registered breeders must comply with certain codes, such as minimum pen sizes and vet checks before and after mating.

There are 12 registered breeders in Wellington Shire, all of which have been audited in the past few months, and have met standards.

Wellington Shire Council encourages people to either adopt from Animal Aid Gippsland, or visit one of the shire’s registered breeders.

People can phone the council for clarification regarding breeders’ registration details.

The council will continue to investigate illegal breeding operations in the shire.

People with information relating to this case or others should phone 1300 366 24.